Let’s get a few things out of the way first. Season one of ‘Pairings’ is likely the most well reviewed series in the history of this blog, and my preview of season two that I wrote up following the premiere a couple months back was full of praise. Needless to say, expectations are high.
So when show creator Ed Robinson told me he was planning on making a second season I was a little surprised. I felt like the first season, while ending on a twist and something of a cliffhanger, gave the audience enough to put together the pieces as to what would happen beyond that. Sure there were several loose ends, but I am a fan of leaving things to the imagination.
I’m generally not big on tying stories all together into a nice bow and while ultimately I think that’s what season two does the show does go out of it’s way to make this a story worth telling.
So why is this story worthwhile? The number one reason has got to be because it is well told, it’s honest, believable and well acted across the board. Robinson has a real talent for writing (did I use that phrase last time?), and with season one he managed to tie his writing into his own great acting performance, which made it difficult to tell just how strong each area was specifically.
This leads into some of the other reasons. Here in season two the world expands – it’s not just the conclusion of season one. Now the rest of Allen’s family takes a prominent role in his story, as does Rose’s family. As a viewer I really became invested in ‘Boberts’ story and in a lot of ways season two is just as much his story as it is Allen and Rose’s (where as season one is really just Allen’s).
Where the show really shines, particularly at the script level, is in the way every character and their story has a strong influence on the outcome of Allen’s story. While things felt cut and dry to me at the end of season one – Rose was going to be pissed off for awhile then come around to the idea of it all being a misunderstanding, which would ultimately lead to Allen winning the bet and starting his own brewery – the extra focus on the side characters proved to make my expectations a little too simplistic.
The complications in the lives of the lesser seen character’s in season one serve to shake things up a bit. They make you feel differently about things and ultimately provide enough new material to make season two of ‘Pairings’ not just a worthwhile conclusion but a show capable of standing on its own.
Of particular merit is the inclusion of the character of ‘Richard’ played by none other than Battlestar Galactica’s Richard Hatch. Having met Jodie Robinson, Ed’s wife, while working on a film set they were able to convince him to come on to the show. The result is nothing short of spectacular. Having a series full of random nerdy reference is a good start, but being able to include just about the perfect actor from a perfect series made from some awesome moments.
All in all season two is everything a good sequel needs to be. The story got bigger, and the characters more complex all while staying true to the heart of the original.
At it’s core I think people will find the show to be so relatable because of the strong themes of family. We all have that sort of love / hate relationship with our close relatives. No one can hurt us as much as the ones we love, yet there will always be certain things that will bring us together.
For Allen, his brother and his sister, for Rose and her brother, family is the unbreakable bond that’s held their lives together. It’s the people who have been there when needed. Somehow I feel like the conflict arises out of the underlining fear that we won’t be able to pass on those things we hold dear. Perhaps this line of culinary connoisseur’s is cursed to end, or like in Rose’ case, that we might just be a little too damaged to do the things we need to do. It’s nice to see a series that can remind this viewer of the value of some of those things we might take for granted.
You can find both seasons of ‘Pairings’ as well as some awesome recipies from the show – not to mention a service that will deliver all the ingredients you need directly to your door at http://pairingstheseries.com
P.S. I’ve been starving ever since I watched the show.